Posts Tagged ‘progesterone shots’

IVF – After the Embryo Transfer

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Tomorrow will mark a week since our embryo transfer. I know I’ve been mum on that event, and promise to divulge more soon. We just wanted to let some of this be ours for a little while and will resume our regularly scheduled too-much-information broadcasting very soon! (Read: Embryo Transfer Story: Part I) I did want to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been up to the past week and how I’ve been feeling.

I mentioned that following our egg retrieval I felt miserable. It lasted the Sunday of retrieval through the Wednesday of transfer. By Wednesday I was doing better, but still not 100 percent. I just wanted to curl up in a dark closet and stay there until this all went away. My abdomen was sore and achy, due to the three-times larger ovaries and two recent vaginal/pelvic procedures. I spent a few days dizzy and nauseated, even getting sick once. Dr. T blamed this on the recent surgery and possibly even the Doxycline, an antibiotic I’d started taking at retrieval. So I stopped taking that and it seemed to help. And no matter how much sleep I got, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Walking hurt. Sitting hurt. Laying hurt. Nothing was comfortable and everything was uncomfortable. Toward the latter part of the week I started getting around more and feeling a little more like myself.

We’ve been doing the progesterone shots since the day after transfer. I hate these. HATE!! I’d even go so far as to say they are worse than all the other IVF shots. For starters, the first two shots Shelton administered nearly center in each butt cheek. So to all the misery listed above, add to that that I couldn’t walk. I was literally taking baby steps, had trouble lifting myself into our tall bed, and avoided stairs at all costs. Then, the fabulous nurses at our clinic suggested this wasn’t right, that it should not be hurting like that. So they drew a big circle with a sharpie on each cheek, more toward my hips, and Shelton now just hits the target. This was brilliant – and I encourage your nurses to do the same for you! Now, the shots still suck, and hurt a bit, but I’m walking.

This weekend, the shot went bad again. Not entirely sure what happened. I was standing whereas usually I lay across the bed. Regardless, the next day I felt like my hip was shattered. The pain was excruciating. I was limping and no matter how I moved I couldn’t seem to shift the weight off of it. Fortunately, by today that pain seems to have dissipated. Only now it’s just the constant deep soreness in the muscles from the injections. And that’s livable.

Other than that, we’re just remaining hopeful and trying not to think about it too much. Although, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the main thing we think about. Or talk about. Are we? Aren’t we? It’s like this cloud hanging over us and we can’t get away from it. And frankly, we don’t want to get away from it. Soon enough, we’ll get to take that blood test and I think in a way, no matter what the answer is, we’ll feel a sense of relief like we’ve never before experienced.

Embryo News and Progesterone Shots

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

If we’re still counting, it’s Day 22 since I started my first Lupron shot. However the counting has changed again. Now we’re at Day 2- which is the number of days the embryos have been alive. So I guess in a weird, twisted, technicality kind of way, this is day two of my pregnancy? OH DEAR GOD!

Embryos you say? Yes I say. We have embryos!!! For the first time in our lives, first time in our marriage, we’re able to say that! I called “M” at 11:02 a.m. yesterday, I didn’t want to appear to eager for the scheduled 11 a.m. call. She told me I was a rock star at egg retrieval and gave me these stats:

> 17 eggs retrieved
> 14 eggs mature
> 10 embryos

She told me I had ten little babies. And I cried. No one has ever said that to me before and I don’t think anything has ever put a smile on my face as quickly as that did. We did it!

I’ll find out later today when our embryo transfer will be. It looks like tomorrow or Friday; if I had to hedge my bets, I’d go with the latter.

I still felt pretty miserable from the egg retrieval yesterday. I even took a percoset, but that just coupled the pain with nausea and dizziness. It hurts to walk, it hurts to stand up straight, and it hurts to be in any position that isn’t “recline” or “flat.”

Last night was scheduled for my first progesterone shot. I’m been in AGONY over this injection! That needle is horrific – it’s an inch/ inch-and-a-half long. MAYBE A FOOT LONG! It’s thick too. All of this to push the progesterone in oil through my skin all the way into the muscle of my buttocks. No specified time was given for the injection, just that we needed to choose a time and stick to that. Being that we’ve been under house arrest for a couple weeks with the other IVF injections, and Shelton isn’t home until 10 p.m. on one night a week, we decided to make it a late shot. So at 10 o’clock last night, we fired it up. And, it wasn’t so terrible. My Menopur shots were far worse than this. Until about two o’clock this morning when I rolled over in bed and my left cheek wanted to stay right where it was. I can’t even sit on my left side today. And yippee, we’ll switch injection sides tonight so by tomorrow I won’t be able to sit down at all.

I think my sis-in-law was right, this is shaping up to be a ten-month pregnancy!

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IVF Updates and Egg Retrieval

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

What a weekend! I can say I’ve never had one like it, and hopefully won’t have another. I’m well-rested today and ready to take on what the week ahead looks like. Here’s a look back at the past few days and a look at what we’re looking forward to:

Friday: Can best be summed up here in this IVF Shots Day 18 post. We took the Ovidrel shot at exactly 8p.m., 36 hours prior to egg retrieval. It made me feel very ill, but it seems with an early night to bed I was able to sleep it off. What you didn’t see in that post, because it happened after I published, was my nuclear meltdown. I was sobbing hysterically, almost hyperventilating, and I just kept saying “I’m not ready! I’m not ready! We can’t do this,” and then chattered off a mindless list of the most inane reasons we shouldn’t be having a baby this week. Shelton once again talked me through it and I was fine … and we are most certainly ready … but I think I needed to get that out of my system.

Saturday: The pain from my gigantor ovaries continued. We attended a friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday party, a little taste of reality and a scrumptious marbled cake! We took it easy for the most part on Saturday, save for a trip the grocery store that I should have sat out because the pain was so bad I considered getting one of those hovaround carts. That night Shelton and I had a picnic in the basement with movies and just relaxed. It was the first “no shot” day we’ve had since July 14, IVF Shots Day One.

Sunday: Egg retrieval day! We woke at 6a.m. to prepare to leave for the surgery center at 6:30. On the way there I joked that being a Sunday morning, it would be funny if they had to unlock the doors to let us in. And guess what? They did! The woman who admitted us was unlocking the doors as we walked up and I thought it was so funny and reminded of how strange (and super early) it was to be there on a Sunday. We were the only people there, and Shelton got the first draw out of the lobby coffee pot. I had a wonderful nurse prep me. She asked how many eggs we were getting and when I told her 17 she gasped and said that’s the most she’d heard all weekend. There had apparently been three retrievals Saturday and three after me on Sunday. Next we had our interview with the anesthesiologist and given a very thorough walk through of how everything would go down in the operating room. Then the star of the show, Dr. T arrived. His constantly calm demeanor is exactly what I needed before going back there. He walked me through the procedure and then gave me his standard instruction – “if you’re usually boss at your house, you’re not today.” Noted.

I was wheeled back to the OR where any shred of modesty I might have had left was quickly taken. Maybe it was too early to make OSU/Poke jokes! After all, they had sharp objects! I was awake for all of the prepping, and where my modesty poured off the table was when I was given a little bath, you know, “down there.” I was never put completely under, but I was still given a strong dose of something and have absolutely no recall after that. The anesthesiology nurse told me that I would have no idea what was going on and for all intents and purposes be out, but I would respond to them if needed – like a “Brandi, please move your leg.”

According to Shelton it only took 40 minutes and I was back in recovery. Dr. T came over to tell me that everything went well and we got all 17 eggs! After about 30 or 40 minutes of coming around Shelton and I headed home where I proceeded to sleep literally all day. I was in quite a bit of pain, and still this morning can’t say I’m exactly comfortable. I never had any spotting, as I was told would happen. I couldn’t eat after midnight Saturday, so by yesterday afternoon I was starving and Shelton kept me well fed.

Yesterday afternoon, after the egg retrieval, the ICSI procedure was done, in which they build the embryos. One sperm in to one egg. So as of this morning, for the first time in mine and Shelton’s marriage … lives, we have embryos. Granted nearly a half-dozen, but we have embryos. And something about that just makes me want to smile! I have to call this morning to see how the ICSI went, how many embryos we actually got, and when they expect to do transfer.

More details can be seen in this post about our embryo transfer and what we hope to be an upcoming pregnancy announcement.

Last night I started my Doxycycline, an antibiotic, and tonight I start those horrific Progesterone shots.

Thanks for all the well wishes this week!

Big Box of IVF Needles and Fertility Drugs

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Earlier this week I received a phone call from the pharmacy filling our fertility drug order. I confirmed all of the pertinent details and then reviewed the order. They had the Doxycycline, Ovidrel, Progesterone in oil and Gonal-F, plus needles. I referenced the list we’d received in IVF class, and everything checked out. I had to call back with some insurance information, knowing it was really a waste of time because they weren’t going to cover any of this. Once I confirmed that I was told they would process my order through insurance and call the next day with a final total.

Yesterday, I received that call. I told the rep that if she hears a loud thump it was me falling out my chair. I think she was too busy to have a sense of humor and with a very concerned tone asked if I was OK. I laughed and told her I was just dreading the total. So drum roll please…. she ran the card and announced that we would be charged $1781.21. I didn’t fall out of my chair. In fact, I was rather relieved by that number. Don’t ask me why spending $1800 on prescriptions is relieving, but I expected an amount far surpassing that. Plus, we got our needles complimentary so that made the entire thing sound like a bargain!

I was told that FedEx would deliver the package tomorrow morning (today) between 8 and 3 and that someone had to be here so that the Gonal and Ovidrel could be refrigerated. At 8:15 the doorbell rang and our package had arrived. I signed. Walked back inside. Placed the box on the floor. And started bawling. I just kept saying “it’s here, I can’t believe we’re doing this, we’re actually doing this.” I think a part of me had just believed we were going to let time get away from us and one day it would be ten years later and there still wouldn’t be a baby. But that’s not the case. We are doing this. We are actually doing this.

So I had a good hearty cry this morning and then followed instructions and took inventory of the package. Two things were wrong:
1. My sharps container was missing. The container for the used needles. Don’t ask me why but I am so excited about that sharps container. It feels so official. I mean, how many people do you know what a needle box in their house? (If you can answer that… maybe you shouldn’t!)

2. My receipt was small. As in, a lot less than I was quoted less than 24 hours previously. $1142.66.

I called the pharmacy and I was told they would get my sharps container in the mail (damn right!), and then asked about the total. Don’t get me wrong, I’m jumping for joy over here. I saved $600 without even trying. I just wanted to confirm that a mistake hadn’t been made and which of the two charges we were actually incurring. Lucky us, it was the lower amount.

I promptly moved my drugs to the lower shelf of the fridge (behind the negro modelo) and then moved on.

I think when we have kids and we’re inevitably faced with the dreaded “how are babies made” question, I’ve got an easy answer. They come in a box. It’s like a model airplane kit. Except more expensive and more painful. The stork sends a box full of supplies and then you just make a baby. And a man, not your father, puts on the finishing touches, and wah-lah, you have a baby.

It should also be noted that two of my drugs are missing from the above list – Lupron and Menopur. We found out this week that our entire doses for both are being donated. I can’t even tell you how excited we were to learn this news. I’m not sharing specifics because I honestly don’t know what the disclosure parameters are with this and I don’t want to disrespect or cross a line I shouldn’t. But the parties responsible are likely reading this and we just want you to know that we are incredibly grateful. I’m not sure how those two items would have impacted our total Rx bill, but I am so very thankful that they didn’t. Hopefully we’ll have a fast cycle and we’ll be able to return the favor!!

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IVF Class and Our Big Bag of Needles

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Well, folks, we’ve decided to get a goldfish. They’re like 35 cents, don’t come with any needles, or severe hormone shifts.

It wasn’t ALL that bad, but definitely overwhelming and quite sobering. After spending the past five years talking about it (and talking and talking), the whole thing slapped us in the face today. My stomach rolled over the moment we walked through the doors. During one portion while our coordinator “M” (she’s reading this… hello!) was giving her presentation, I thought I was going to have to leave. Tears started welling in my eyes and I was shaking my leg so hard I thought my sandal was going to fall off. Because rapidly shaking your leg is the cure for public crying.

We took our seat at the tables and there was a pink bag at our place. Shelton got really excited and thought it was a goody bag – full of drug-branded sticky notes, clicky pens and even candy. There was no candy in that bag. It might as well have been a goody bag from a Halloween party at Hansel’s and Gretel’s witch’s house. It was full of NEEDLES!!! Giant needles. Probably the same ones used to give elephants and humpback whales tranquilizers. There it is, my needle phobia (trypanophobia).

I literally shuddered. And used all self-restraint not to ask “M” if we could just get a topical cream or some sort of flavored Dimetapp-style liquid. Give me a pill the size of an Oreo cookie if you must. But needles? Most are tiny, I admit. The ones for Lupron, Gonal F, Menopur all seem to be relatively approachable. I’ll probably cry and throw a fit the first couple of times and then I’ll get over it. That progesterone needle? It’s the one that’s seven and a half feet long. It’s the one I’ll do daily injections with for SIX WEEKS! In my butt. Which will apparently bruise and be sore.

We also learned that despite my constant theory that we’d get ONE DRUG throughout our entire fertility preparedness project, that there will be multiple drugs. Administered BY NEEDLE multiple times a day. The Lupron, Gonal and Menopur will last up to 12 days. The progesterone starts at egg retrieval (Day Zero) and continues through what will hopefully be my sixth week of pregnancy.

The entire three hours did not consist of the needle parade. “M” thoroughly walked us through the ins and outs of this upcoming cycle. There were points where she’d make a little joke and the room would laugh and I would be so thankful. We’re in there with 18 other infertile couples and it felt like the most awkward first day of school. No one looking to their sides, straight ahead. I could feel the class-clown tension between Shelton and I; each of us constantly wanting to make some uninvited wise ass comment. Because we decided to wear our mature adult clothes today, we kept quiet.

She explained that due to the drugs our estrogen level on the day of egg retrieval would be close to 4000. Any other time of ovulation it would be about 300. That is ludicrous. She gently suggested to the husbands that they remember this estrogen spike and act accordingly.

We also heard from one of the clinic’s doctors. She explained some of the risks associated with the drugs, and risks and statistics for multiples. I still REALLY want twins, as in, does Shelton’s opinion count since he doesn’t?? However, since I was wearing my mature adult clothes, the ones that say you can trust me with a newborn baby and that I pay my taxes on time, I decided to hear out the doctor. Because of all the drugs we’re on, the likelihood of multiples skyrockets. I asked if family history of twins plays any role and she said that what we’re doing overrides genetics. Fair enough. So if we implant two embryos, there is a 50% chance we’ll have twins (or more!). If we implant a single embryo, there is a 5% chance will have twins. I felt like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber – “so you’re saying there’s a chance!” It would be the responsible and safe choice to opt for the singleton. After all, I’ve decided we’ll have more than enough embryos to freeze and come back later.

Then we heard from the embryologist, described as our first babysitter. She takes the eggs, and the sperm, and waves her magic wand, or rather pipette, over the petri dishes and builds our little babies. The only concern I had with her was, how do we know my egg didn’t get matched with guy B’s sperm? Before I could ask she more than reassured me that that isn’t going to happen.

Finally, we signed so many forms that I honestly thought someone was going to hand me the keys to a new house. We consented to the IVF, embryo transfer, ICSI, embryo freezing and more. We signed off that the living spouse gets custody of the frozen embryos if one of us should die (I had to promise Shelton I wouldn’t make his “ghost” babies). If we both die then we selected to have our remaining embryos donated to research.

I have to call “M” tomorrow to get my birth control and prenatal vitamin prescriptions filled. I hadn’t even thought about the vitamins. I’m no good, NO GOOD AT ALL, with daily pills. So keep your fingers crossed for me. In college I used to tape my birth control to the bathroom mirror so I wouldn’t forget… maybe I’ll try that again.

Afterward, I made Shelton take me for ice cream. Not because the doctor hurt me, which was always my mom’s rule growing up, but because of the impending promise of pain.image

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